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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Steel I-beams are critical set pieces for an industrial/factory room in your haunt. Luckily, they are fairly simple to make using foam. Plus, they are just fun to have around the house. heheh.

Here's a video of them scattered around the basement:

Items Needed: (to make 6)
One sheet of 2" pink or blue styrofoam
Partial sheet of 1/2" pink or blue styrofoam
Scrap section of 3/4" pink or blue styrofoam
3/4" diameter wood dolly
3 or more tubes of foamboard adhesive
Gray latex Drylok
Monster mud colors (see griming tutorial)

Tools Needed:
Band saw (or table saw)
Jig for band saw (used a furring strip)
2 clamps (to hold jig on workbench)
Caulk gun
Ruler with metric readings
2" paint brush
Small paint roller

Cut Beams (not pictured): Divide your sheet of 2" styrofoam into six planks lengthwise. You should end up with six 8' long 8" wide planks. A table saw would be the easiest tool to cut them apart but I used a band saw (all I had).

Cut Flanges: You will be cutting the 1/2" thick foam into 1/2" strips 8' long to make the small edges of the I-beams. A table saw would, again, be the best tool. If you don't have a table saw then you'll have to make a jig for your band saw to cut the small edges of the steel I-beams. If you have neither tool then perhaps you can cut the strips using some other foam cutter. Just bear in mind that the strips look and glue on better when they are cut in nice straight lines. A jig or table saw makes it easy to stay on target and make the strips fairly fast.

Set-up your jig so the band saw (or table saw) will cut 1/2" wide pieces. You will cut the whole length of the foamboard (8'). For six I-beams you will need 24. If you only had a 4' long piece of foamboard left like I did, then you'd need 48.

Note: In the picture you will see that the pieces cut are smaller than 1/2" wide. This was for another project but was the only picture of the jig I had. Your pieces will be wider.

Glue Flanges: Using a thin bead of foamboard adhesive, glue the cut side of the flanges to each edge and on both sides of the I-beam. If the glue squishes out the sides, wipe it up with a paper towel.

I like the opposite cut side showing because it has a rougher surface than the smooth side. Seems more like metal to me but it's your preference.
Note: I only had 4' long flanges available so I had to join them up.

View attachment 477753
Make Hex Nuts and Bolts: Above is an animation to show you how to mark your scrap piece of 3/4" foam to give you the shape of hex nuts. This, by the way, took hours to figure out. Math is hard! :p

Note: To make the needed 144 hex nuts you will need a slightly bigger scrap of foam then shown here. This scrap only made 110 hex nuts.

Step one: Draw horizontal lines 1 1/2" apart from each other on the scrap 3/4" thick foam.

Step two: Use the metric markings on the ruler to mark dots every 2.2cm. So it would be marked at the 2.2, 4.4, 6.6, 8.8, 11, 13.2, 15.4, 17.6, 19.8, 22, 24.2, 26.4, 28.6 and so forth.

Step three: Draw a diagonal line to it's corresponding mark. Skip a dot and draw the next diagonal line. You will start to see the hex design on the nut.

Step four: Draw opposite diagonal lines to complete the markings.

Final picture: I blacked-out the parts that you will cut off so you can see the hex pattern more clearly. You don't need to do this step. I just did it as a better visual for this tutorial.

Cut-out Hex Nuts: Finally, the band saw is the best tool for this. Cut-out all hex nuts.

To finish, cut the hex nuts in half to double the amount of hex nuts you have. You will need 144 of them total. They will be about 3/8" thick. I used a clamp-like jig to keep my fingers safe while doing this.

Cut Bolts: Band saw the 3/4" wood dolly to make 144 'coins' (about the thickness of a nickle). These will be the bolts in the center of the hex nut.

Another way: Dave Lowe has a neat way to make these hex nuts and bolts. You may want to consider this as an alternative: http://davelowe.blogspot.com/2009/08/halloween-09-molding-and-casting-cheap.html

Glue nuts and bolts: Use foamboard adhesive to glue on hex nuts then the bolts. Glue a grouping of four at the top, bottom and center. Repeat for the other side.

Drylok: Paint all I-beams with two coats of gray Drylok.

Grime: Grime up the I-Beams using the 'Grime up Props' tutorial found here: http://www.halloweenforum.com/blogs/terra/696-grime-up-props-tutorial.html but use the rust color as the base color.

That's it! Now, get your kids and show them how strong you are by lifting one up with your pinkie ;)

Another shot of them in the haunt.

Thanks for checking out another one of my tutorials :)

Emperor of Candlewood
4,331 Posts
Okay, now your'e just blogging to show off.... LOL! Just messing with ya Terra! You know I ALWAYS have the upmost appreciation for all your skills and home-built props! Love it, love it, love it!!! Another Extra Krispy Kudos to ya!!!


16 Posts
Amazing Terra!...I love all your designs/props!....Thank you for sharing:D
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